M A Siraj
Bengaluru: Former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Muhammad Sirajul Hassan who passed into the history on Thursday (April 2) will be remembered for his profoundly affectionate persona.
A man known for high social decorum, he exuded intense warmth. His charming exterior attracted countless people to the Jamaat which he served devotedly as an ordinary worker in his native Raichur district of Karnataka to the position of its Ameer (Chief) at Delhi.
As someone who had been nurtured in Hyderabad-Karnataka, Maulana’s conversation in chaste Urdu would draw heavily from the vast repertoire of anecdotes, some syrupy, some macabre and yet others dipped in melodrama. Associates and adherents of the Jamaat vividly remember his speeches when he headed the Jamaat in Karnataka but would be invited elsewhere too for insightful talks. Maulana Hassan was a keen student of history and would often quote from writer of the History of Deccan, Qasim Ferishta (1560-1620) and Mulla Abdul Qadir Badayuni, one of the historians of Mughal emperor Akbar. He was a lookalike of Quranic commentator from Pakistan Dr. Israr Ahmed minus the latter’s authoritative tone.
Maulana Hassan led the Jamaat in Karnataka for 26 year from 1958 till 1984 when he was called over to Delhi to take over the responsibility as Secretary of the organization. He was elected the Amir of the Jamaat in 1992, a position he held till 2003. After demitting the office of the Amir, he moved back to his native home district Raichur and stayed with his son. The translation of the Quran into Kannada language by a team of experts in Mangalore was the highlight of his tenure in Karnataka. The translation titled “Divya Quran” was released at an impressive function in Bangalore soon after the Emergency was lifted during which a ban had been imposed on the Jamaat. The Jamaat set up the Shanti Prakashana in Mangalore under his stewardship of the State organization and considerable amount of Islamic literature was transferred into the Kannada language. It also launched weekly, ‘Sanmarga’ in the language which enjoys considerable readership.
Sirajul Hassan sahib was born in Juwelgirah, 77 kilometres west of Raichur in a family of Jagirdars. He received early education in madrassa in Raichur.
On a visit to Raichur in December 2018 this writer called on him. He looked cheerful and was being looked after by his sons and grandchildren. Though it took a little time for him to recognize me, he was not a bit less same-self that he used to be earlier with a creepy undertone of smile accompany all through the conversation.
Very few people knew that the esteemed Maulana had been gifted with an uncanny ability to relieve people suffering from pain. He privately entertained such patients but he neither used this skill to expand the devotional circle around him nor even to commercialise it.
He was laid to rest in Raichur amid lockdown on Friday after the Zuhr prayers by a small band of relatives, friends and Jamaat members as mass funerals were not possible. His wife had died in 2009. He is survived by five sons and a daughter.